How to setup a Google Analytics account

This article is for anyone. Setting up an account is one process that happens one way only. You will need to set up the account before you can set up your analytics and start collection data from your website and/or app.

  1. Start by navigating to https://www.analytics.google.com. You will get this login window if you are not already logged in.

2. Login with the account you want to use to manage the analytics. This must be a Google account. So a Gmail address or your work address if your company’s email provider is Google. If Google rejects your email address at this stage, you will need to create a free Gmail account and then come back here to login. Once you have logged in successfully you will see the below screen.

3. Click Start measuring.

4. Now you need to name your account. This sounds simple but this is a time to make a very important decision. Before you really know much about Google Analytics, you are naming the second highest level in the hierarchy of things and you might not be aware of this. So I’m telling you now.

The only thing higher than this account name is your company. My company is called Build Smart Dashboards. I have one Google Analytics account, but I have a few properties across all of my websites and apps and here is a diagram to show you what I mean.

I only have two accounts because I have a second business focus which could one day be a full spin-off. You might only need one account. The best naming strategy for your account is to name it for the company name and ‘Main’ (e.g. ‘Build Smart Dashboards Main’). That way you are ready if you need a new account in the future but at the same time, everything you do now is perfectly suited to this account. Account Data Sharing Settings are a big deal. Set these up well and you never have to worry about them again.

5. Google products & services: this will allow you to see aggregate data for users who have personalized ads turned on. This won’t be everyone and the data is still aggregated. I would recommend to keep this un-checked.

  • Benchmarking: if you belong to an industry that thrives on benchmarking then you will love this tool. Marketing professionals often find this really interesting. I would recommend to keep this checked.
  • Technical support: you won’t need technical support often so I would recommend un-check this option and allow it later if you need it, from the Administration panel.
  • Account specialist: you most likely won’t be using Google specialists either so I recommend to un-check this option­ and allow it later if you need it, from the Administration panel.

These are my recommended settings in the image below. Once you are happy with your settings, click Next.

6. Now you need to name your property. This could be for just your website, or just your blog. This will be your first property and it is very simple to create more. If you have one website and one app which works together (i.e. website has information and instructions for getting app and app is main offering), then you just need one property. I would recommend naming the property after the website and/or app and if you need more distinction, like I do, throw in the purpose of the site/app. Since my website has the company’s name, I have made my property ‘Build Smart Dashboards e-Learning’ to show it is for the course.

7. Reporting time zone is an easy one. This is the time zone in which your data will be displayed. If it is Monday in your business time zone and a user across the globe is in Tuesday when they interact with your website, the data will fall under Monday.

8. Currency is also an easy one. This is quite important for eCommerce variables but also if you want numbers displaying with currency format (e.g. $1,000.00 rather than 1000).

9. Don’t worry about the advanced options. Click Next for the last three steps.

10. Industry category is useful for when you use bench-marking and your data is compared to anonymized data for you industry competitors. You can change this easily in the Administration panel so don’t think too hard about this one. Select something that makes sense and if you want to use bench-marking later, play around with a few relevant industries to see which one really suits your business.

11. Business size is an easy one, you should know this.

12. How do you intend… is just for Google’s own customer research team. Try to be as accurate as possible so they can help tailor updates and changes to their user-base. Filling this out incorrectly is not a problem, but it is helpful to do it well.

13. You are now ready! Click Create.

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